When reports of the Lakers and Mike Brown adding Eddie Jordan to their coaching staff surfaced, two questions came to mind: (1) Will Jordan bring the Princeton offense with him, and (2) how effective will it be with the Los Angeles Lakers? The first part of that question was answered rather quickly by Brown, who told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports that the Lakers plan on mixing in the Princeton offense: "We're still going to do a lot of stuff we did last year. We're just incorporating some of the Princeton stuff."
It wasn't just Mike Brown who wanted Eddie Jordan. According to Adrian Wojnarwoski the Princeton offense is something that Kobe Bryant wants to see the Lakers run as well. So with the Lakers' head coach and star player both endorsing the new system's arrival, we can assume it's going to be a major part of the Lakers' offensive playbook next season.
When we talk about Blake Griffin, we often focus on one of two things: His fantastic athletic ability, or how he can build on it. There’s a tendency to point at the block and criticize Griffin’s post game, but in actuality, he does a decent job of scoring efficiently there, posting a PPP of 0.836, which places him in the 62nd percentile among all NBA players.
You can find a few things Griffin does well when you review the numbers and the tape. He’s probably best when he turns off of his right shoulder — on both blocks, turning baseline on the left block (70th percentile in terms of PPP) or turning middle on the right block (76th percentile in terms of PPP). When posting on the left block, Griffin is all about speed, quickly turning his right shoulder and spinning baseline.
Yesterday we looked at Jeremy Lin and why his ability in the pick-and-roll could wind up warranting the contract that the Houston Rockets gave him. With regard to the Rockets' half-court offense, Lin and his pick-and-roll play is a very good match. However, in basketball, you don't play only offense, and that offense isn't limited to pick-and-roll play. Once you start taking into consideration Lin's ability in transition and how the Rockets want to play in the fast break, you start to worry a little bit. Start looking at Lin's one-on-one defense, and you worry a lot.
After having Jeremy Lin pre-Linsanity, the Houston Rockets made up for cutting him before last season by agreeing to pay Lin around $25 million over the next three years. While that may seem like a lot for a player who had success for just 36 games as a New York Knick, Lin is coming in as the presumed starting point guard for the Rockets, ready to prove that those games weren't a fluke. As it turns out, Houston wanting to make up for their mistake might be the best thing for Lin, because when looking at the tape and the numbers, the fit seems pretty good, especially when you look at Lin's play in pick-and-roll situations, and especially in comparison to how Kyle Lowry — who ran point for Houston last season and is now on the Raptors — played in the pick-and-roll last season.
The news that Dwight Howard is heading to the Lakers in a four-team trade means our long national nightmare is over. It also means that with the particulars of the deal — Howard to L.A., Bynum to Philadelphia, and Iguodala to Denver — three teams got pieces that will have a significant impact next season. The next question is how the X's and O's will work for each.
Alexey Shved has shown during these Olympics that he is an interesting prospect, one who should make the Timberwolves even more exciting to watch. Throughout the men's basketball competition, we've seen the good Shved — a 16-point, 13-assist game against Great Britain — and the bad — getting benched in the fourth quarter of Russia's game against Australia for talking during a timeout. Shved, who is known a little too well for his off-the-court antics, is starting to make a name for himself in the Olympics with his play, especially with his shooting. This has led many Timberwolves fans to ask: What can he do for us next year?
Since the Toronto Raptors drafted Jonas Valanciunas fifth overall in 2011, the curiosity about the 20-year-old Lithuanian has only grown among basketball fans. With the news that he would make his NBA debut this season, the interest in his performance for the Lithuanian Olympic team was heightened even further. Coming into the Games, Valanciunas had already built a solid track record in international competition, dominating the 2011 U19 World Championships and putting together a solid campaign at last year’s EuroBasket. Those performances are what make Valunciunas’s struggles during these Olympics a disappointment. Averaging barely 10 minutes, 3.6 points, and three rebounds per game, he’s failed to make much of an imprint on the tournament. Taking everything into account — the previous international success, the tape of his domestic season last year for Lietuvos Rytas, and his Olympic struggles — I still think Valanciunas can have a positive impact when he joins the Raptors, but his time in London has shown that he has a few areas of weakness he’ll need to work on during his rookie season.
In this year's Olympic basketball competition, there are several teams that are a threat to medal, and maybe even to contend with Team USA. As the Games ramp up, we’ll be providing looks at the strengths, weaknesses, and medal chances of these possible contenders.
Because Spain qualified for the Olympics by winning 2011's EuroBasket, a large slate of preparation games was replaced by a long pre-Olympics training camp. During those limited opportunities, we did get to see just how good Spain can be. In its game against Great Britain (in which Spain competed without some of its key players), it was easy to see why many consider them to be the main threat to Team USA's gold medal run.
Heading into the basketball competition of these Olympics, there are several teams that are a threat to medal, and maybe even contend with Team USA. As the Games ramp up, we’ll be providing looks at the strengths, weaknesses, and chances of these possible contenders.
Much like Spain, France features a team full of NBA pros and familiar names. Although they lost to Spain in the finals of EuroBasket last season, France had a fantastic run in that tournament that allowed them to qualify for these Olympic Games, where they should be a threat to win another medal.
Team USA's small-ball lineup, the one that doesn’t feature a true center, has been talked about a lot in the buildup to the Olympics — and for good reason. Going small would be the only hole other teams could exploit, especially on the defensive end. Going into their game against Spain, the USA lineups without a true big had been outscored by one point in their other exhibition games, according to John Schuhmann of NBA.com. Any time Tyson Chandler has been in foul trouble (remember, in FIBA play, players get five fouls instead of six), the United States has struggled. We saw something similar in the first quarter against Spain yesterday. After Chandler picked up his second foul, Team USA had a lineup featuring LeBron James at center, Carmelo Anthony at power forward, and Kevin Durant at small forward. Serge Ibaka exploited the smaller lineup with 10 straight points.
Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, and James Harden secured the final three spots on the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team, beating out Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay, and no. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis. Griffin may be the most interesting selection, because, more than anyone else on the roster, it's not clear that his game will translate to the international style of play.
Griffin isn't the typical international big who can stretch the floor, knock down shots, and play the pick-and-pop game. If you look at Team USA's possessions from the World Championships of 2010 and compare them with Griffin's from this past NBA season (using data provided by Synergy Sports), you see a stark contrast.
Over the weekend, Ray Allen chose to leave the Boston Celtics' original big three to join the Miami Heat's villainous big three. Since Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James joined forces, the Heat have sorely missed having a knock-down shooter. Mike Miller and Shane Battier were both supposed to play that role, and while they both did well in the Finals, they struggled during the regular season. That's what they need Ray Allen for, which is very clear when you compare the Heat's shot chart with Allen's. (Note: Green indicates above-average, yellow average, and red below-average.)
Last year, the Sacramento Kings got lucky with their second-round pick. With the 60th and final pick, they selected Isaiah Thomas. By the end of the season, he was an effective starter for them. Every team hopes they will choose guys who can make an immediate impact. Here are three guys who won't go early, but could really help their future team.
Bigs tend to be selected based on potential more than any other type of player in the NBA draft. If you have size and athleticism, you are nearly a lock for a lottery selection. Thus, teams make their choices based on projected skill, and scouts must account for many variables.